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How India Transformed Into A Hub Of Technology
Let’s take a look at what the future holds for technology in India as it is one of the rapidly growing markets.
India, the country known for its cultural integrity and spices is also at the forefront of technology, science, and innovations. The nation has been responsible for a lot of major scientific and technological advancements proving its mettle on a global scale. Be it healthcare, education, or job opportunities, India has witnessed a vital growth in either of the sectors. And now, the country is slowly climbing the ladder to becoming the biggest hub for technology giants across the world.
Well, the interest shown by industry giants for setting up their manufacturing units in India speaks volumes about the technological potential of the country. This exponential growth isn't restricted to just smartphones, it has now stretched its arms to sectors such as wearable devices, online shopping, mobile payments in the past several years.
Telecom sector reached new heights
India is the second largest telecommunications market globally with a user base of 1.2 billion as of January 2019. Not long ago, there were just a few million smartphone users getting things done on low-speed connectivity.
However, the tables have turned, and telcos in the country are now adopting new technologies to make lives easier for generations to come.
The constant surge in mobile phone usage and decline in data charges is said to drive the adoption of internet services in the coming years. As per recent TRAI and DoT reports dating from 2001 to 2019, the usage of landlines and PCOs have decreased gradually due to the increase in the use of mobiles. Also, many users are inclined towards the use of wireless internet connections rather than wired broadband.
Also, this trend has increased the popularity of 4G in the rural regions of the country, thanks to 4G-enabled feature phones such as JioPhone and affordable tariff plans. With the emergence of Reliance Jio, every telco is offering bundled and unlimited combo plans that have reduced the average cost of 1GB of 4G data plans.
Also, the average time spent on voice calls has increased considerably over the years due to the bundled tariff plans that come with voice calling minutes for free.
E-commerce bets on regional languages
In the past few years, there has been a steep increase in the e-commerce and digital shopping sectors. Besides India, it has become a global trend as people like the convenience of shopping from their home. In India, e-commerce sales are growing rapidly and are projected to be valued over $45 billion in 2021.
As per Statista, India ranks first in the B2C e-commerce development with an annual growth rate of 17.8. The online shopping market is led by Flipkart, Amazon, and Myntra and these companies are said to have generated net sales of over $1.45 billion in 2017.
Besides, the growth, e-commerce companies are betting big on the regional languages. E-commerce biggies are estimated to widen their user base by a few hundred millions by focusing on regional languages. These companies are in plans to use Artificial Intelligence to focus on regional language users.
Citing a few examples, Flipkart has acquired Liv.ai to develop a speech-to-text platform with support for 10 Indian languages. And, cab-hailing platform Ola offers support to 12 languages for its users in tier 2 cities.
Amazon and PatniGroup have entered a joint venture to expand its operations by offering voice-based and text-based consumer support in regional languages.
With this, e-commerce can penetrate deeper into the rural markets in the country and gain a massive user base taking them to great heights.
Social media became an integral part of society
Thanks to the easy internet access, social media users in the country have surpassed 326.1 million by 2018. As per the research, the major growth took place in 2016 and 2017. It is estimated that this number will hit 448 million in 2023. And, the most used social networking platform appears to be Facebook.
The increase in social media use comes due to various reasons such as increased availability of internet connections in recent years, the central government's Digital India initiative and more. In fact, India has progressed to become the second largest market in internet usage in the world next to China.
Features phones made a comeback
Ever since the smartphones came into existence in the late 2000s, the number of feature phone users started declining gradually. Of course, the convenience of using a smartphone is known.
However, the feature phones were able to withstand due to their affordability and were ruling the mobile sales in the rural regions in India until the past few years.
Well, the launch of 4G-enabled feature phones was actually a comeback for these basic handsets. While the feature phones of earlier days such as the Nokia Asha series supported WhatsApp and Facebook, the actual change came with the launch of the JioPhone from Reliance Jio. The company wanted to make its 4G service popular across the country (including the tier 2 and tier 3 markets). And, well, it did achieve the same.
As per a report by Counterpoint Research in 2018, Reliance Jio has captured more than one-third of the total feature phone market. This has led to an increase in 4G and internet usage in the rural regions, as stated above. It is also said that, "Feature phones grew faster than smartphones during the year for the first time ever, driven by Jio Phone."
Chinese brands have enjoyed quite a success
When it comes to the smartphone market segment, India is one of the largest markets in this segment with numerous brands from across the world wanting to launch their offerings here. Also, the country is home to many brands that have lost their foothold due to the dominance of Chinese brands.
In terms of numbers, research by Counterpoint did earlier this year suggests "Overall India mobile phone shipments crossed 330 Million units for the first time ever with smartphones capturing almost 44% of the total volume in 2018".
Analyzing the smartphone shipments and sales in India for the whole year of 2018, this research report says that Xiaomi is leading the market with a share of 28% in 2018, which is a considerable increase from 19% in 2017. Trailing behind Xiaomi is Samsung with a market share of 24%, which is similar to what it achieved in 2017. Then come Vivo, Oppo, Micromax, and others. While Xiaomi is leading the smartphone market, it is Reliance JioPhone, which has established its leadership in the feature phone market segment, it adds.
When it comes to the overall smartphone market segment, the Chinese brands have exhibited the strongest ever annual performance in the country capturing over 60% of the market in 2018, while it was 54% in the previous year.
While Xiaomi is dominating the market in terms of shipments, Tecno was the fastest growing smartphone brand with 221% growth due to offline reach in 2018. The other fast-growing brands are Honor (+183%), Infinix (+146%), Nokia HMD (+138%) and Asus (+76%). In the premium market segment, OnePlus has witnessed a growth of 85% year-on-year.
The research firm also stated that "Online share of smartphone shipments reached a record 36% during the year driven by a strong performance of both Flipkart and Amazon."
Wearable devices are becoming a hit
Back in 2013, the wearable devices sector was in the phase of infancy. But over time, Indians have shown a keen interest in buying smartwatches and fitness bands that are most used wearable devices in the market. And, the market has many unique wearable devices such as personal air purifiers, a tag to help trace lost devices, and other gadgets these days.
As per Research and Markets, the wearable device market has recorded a humongous growth of over 140% from 2013 to 2017. Also, the report claims that this market is projected to grow significantly from 2018 to 2023 due to trends such as modern lifestyle, rising fitness trends, growing keenness to use devices and increased internet penetration.
It adds that 2017 saw a lot of new smartwatch and fitness tracker launches in India with Garmin and Huawei entering the market's wearable segment. Though global brands are present in this segment, Xiaomi dominates it for the 5th consecutive quarter with a 41% market share, claims IDC. It is followed by GOQii and Titan in the second and third positions. This is due to the competitively priced Mi Band series.
India is home to several startups turned big businesses
There are many young entrepreneurs in India who have unleashed the vibrant startup scene in the country. The business ecosystem in the country has numerous successful startups. As a result, many new businesses have erupted and grown at a steady pace. As per reports, the Indian startups have witnessed increased funding and reduced cost of building the business from scratch.
One way of making the latter possibly due to the emergence of the coworking trend. These coworking spaces provide all the services needed for businesses within their efficient spaces.
When it comes to the presence of coworking spaces, the first one was Evoma, which was opened in Bengaluru in 2004. It was an attempt to meet the requirement for a flexible office space for people who had to commute to long distances to reach their office. Now, the situation has changed with the leading companies being WeWorks, Cowrks, and 91SpringBoard. As per reports, 32% of the total coworking spaces is located in Bengaluru, which was a thriving startup and business ecosystem in the country.
Phenomenal growth in the digital payment system
The digital payment system in the country has witnessed a phenomenal growth in recent years. Previously, the acceptance by merchants and scarce use of smartphones and data were hindrances to the growth of digital payments in India. This has been gradually reduced with the progress in technology over the years.
As per a report by Credit Suisse, the digital payment market is all set to grow by $1 trillion in the country by 2023. This growth is led by mobile payments, which witnessed a drastic growth due to demonetization back in 2016. However, digital payments growth is higher in the urban areas and the rural markets are yet to gain high volumes. Nevertheless, to say, tier 2 and tier 3 cities have started accepting UPI and car payments since 2016.
India is one of the most attractive destinations of tech companies for many reasons. As there are many companies and startups that have set foot in the company, there is progress for growth as well. When it comes to the country's tech ecosystem, it is evident that Bengaluru is the technological capital of India.
Many genres of tech are thriving in this city and this is supported by the golden triangle of technology and IT situated in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai being the backbone of R&D, science and technology and manufacturing.
With the penetration of mobile companies, there are increased employment opportunities across the country. If you are wondering how it is possible, then we should make you understand that the many manufacturing units set up by the smartphone brands and service centers are creating employment opportunities across the country. And, given that this initiative is backed up by the government, we can expect more support to pour in towards the Digital India and Make in India initiatives that further strengthen these developments.
Moreover, with the steady increase in the use of smartphones and internet, we are sure that there will b a consistent increase and growth in the use of online payment and e-commerce as well. So, in the coming years, the technological growth is going to be higher without any plunge.